Between 2005 and 2011 the number of people working over the internet from home has risen 73% in the US, to more than 3 million people. Working remotely enables employees to live a more adaptable timetable and avoid wasting time travelling to work, while businesses can hire staff without the need to increase their headcount or having to buy extra computers.

As bosses get more used to the concept of working over the internet from home and adapting to the new way of working, the quantity of people working at home is only going to grow. For that reason it is crucial that new solutions to how we work are applied to ensure remote employees can collaborate seamlessly with office based staff. To make this doable, there's now a variety of software programs available to connect staff together just as though they are working in the same office:

Skype - For quite a few years now, Skype has been one of the most valuable communication tools for people working at home . Remote workers can make telephone calls to mobiles and landlines just like they would on a traditional phone but without having to pay for line rental, while calls to other Skype users are free, including video calls. What's more, Remote workers can buy an ‘online number’ which enables people to phone them on a ordinary phone without knowing they're phoning a VoIP phone number. An business class VoIP option is ‘Go to Meeting’, which is more business focused and offers additional functionality like desktop sharing and the ability to hold both private and public chats in webinars.

Document sharing and task management - This is a document sharing application specifically designed for managing the challenges of home based staff. Without being able to walk around the office to keep an eye on people, it can be difficult to keep track of who’s working on what. This is why 90,000 businesses around the world use Huddle to assign tasks, share files and to manage projects. It offers them with the awareness they need to make sure projects are on course and everybody is working productively. In fact, staff working in the same room could also benefit from having a central document sharing and collaboration application like Huddle.

Dropbox or Google Drive - These document sharing applications can both be used for free up to a certain storage allowance. When teams are dispersed, it can be challenging to keep track of who's working on the most up to date version of a document. This is why many home based staff use Dropbox and Google Drive to share files with office based colleagues which they can work on at the same time. This removes the difficult task of tryng to combine feedback and track changes into a single document.

Employee monitoring Software - The fear factor for many employers of having remote workers is the possible loss of control or visibility of what their workers are working on. One answer, is employee monitoring software. Literally every instant message, keystroke, download and website visit can be recorded and tracked. This means home based staff won’t be able to waste time on YouTube or looking at photos on Facebook without getting a virtual slap on the wrist from their bosses for wasting time. It's understandable that remote workers may not like being monitored and may find it intrusive. But for employers it can eliminate the fear factor and risks of home based staff not working productively.

Working from home is a trend that’s only going to grow in the future. For it to be successful both remote staff and employers will need to implement innovative tools to make it successful, so that home based workers can continue collaborating and performing productively from any remote location.

Author's Bio: 

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